Recipe: Bhindi Masala

I was inspired by a visit to my favourite Indian restaurant, Kalpna, last night to give my first of what I hope to be many Taste posts, aiming to give you lovely people a few good recipes. Hey, you might even want to invite me along for dinner one night and cook one. I'm just suggesting.

Kalpna recently underwent a huge renovation, converting it from a trendy student curry house into a place of fine dining and soft lighting (is it just me that appreciates understated lighting in eateries?). Plus, it's all vegetarian/vegan so it demands experimental cooking (there are only so many ways one can curry a carrot). The South Indian dishes, I'm told, are particularly excellent, however disappointingly unsuitable for me and my fellow mushroom-allergy sufferers. Still, there are plenty more dishes to choose from. I will present to you my new favourite; Bhindi Masala (aka Spicy Okra).

Serves: 4 hungry people
Time: 30 minutes

Okra (Bhindi) ---- 500g
Tomatoes ---- 3 big juicy ones
Onions ---- 2
Green chillis ---- 2
Cinammon ---- 1 stick
Cloves ---- 2
Bay leaf ---- 1
Garlic cloves ---- 3
1 heaped tsp grated ginger
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp dry mango powder (or squeeze of lemon juice)
1 tsp Garam Masala powder
Pinch of salt
Parsley for a fancy wee garnish, if you want

1 - Cut the okra (remove stalk and make sure it is completely dry), tomatoes, garlic cloves, onions & green chillies.
2 - Heat the oil then well-fry the okra
3 - Remove the okra, place on paper towel and let the excess oil be absorbed.
4 - With a clean pan and more oil, now fry the cloves, cinnamon and bayleaf for 30 seconds, then add the onion and green chillis and fry until the onion has started to lightly brown.
5 - Add the garlic and grated ginger. Fry for another minute.
6 - Add tomatoes, chilli powder and salt. Simmer until the tomatoes are soft, then add the garam masala powder and dry mango powder. Simmer for another 5/6 minutes
7 - Add the fried okra and stir gently for two minutes, then serve.

Kalpna Restaurant